An April Social Service Message from the CoA, and a Reminder about Fuel Assistance

There has been a lot of reflection happening recently as we passed the one-year mark of the beginning of the pandemic…one full year (sigh).

It’s been one year of wearing masks, of the COA being closed, of not seeing loved ones in person, of not hugging each other, of missing out on some of our most fun and favorite activities. Surely, it’s been a tough year for everyone and has had a huge impact on everyone’s mental health.

Collective Trauma is a term used to identify the impact the pandemic has had on society. This refers to the impact of a traumatic experience that affects and involves entire groups of people, communities, or societies.

It can change the entire fabric of a community. As we know already, it has altered the way we have lived for the past year. Some of it good and some of it bad. There are likely to be some things that will remain and others that will slowly move back towards pre-pandemic life or maybe end with a little blend of both.

While we all continue to move through this drawn-out event, it is important that we recognize the trauma we are all experiencing.

It’s important we honor those experiences. It’s essential we extend empathy to not only others but also ourselves. It’s vital we work on setting a coping plan and utilize the resources that are available to us. Identifying and discussing this trauma can help us become more aware of it.

If we are aware, we can then be mindful of how we are reacting to it, how we take care of ourselves and how we take care of each other. As things begin to shift yet again with the vaccine rollout and the state starting to reopen, you may be feeling a surge of hope and happiness along with a jolt of excitement. I know I have.

We have been longing for the days of being together. However, at the same time, there may continue to be feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety as we learn to navigate reintegrating into social settings and events.

Everyone experiences and responds to events differently. It is important we focus on the things we can control. Pay attention to our own feelings and reactions. Be honest about our limits and be respectful of other people’s limits.

Some of us may be ready to run around and hug the world, while others may be hesitant to still shake hands. Both are okay. As businesses open doors or expand capacity, workers may be feeling anxious about increased amounts of people.

As larger venues open to the public, some will be ready to gather and others may not.  We will need to find a way to be together harmoniously while respecting those differences. Patience and understanding will be vitally important as things evolve.

The more grace we give, the easier this will be for everyone. It may take a little more time than we want, but we will get there. So please pay attention to the messages others are sending you in their words, their body language, and their emotions.

If we all work together with patience, kindness, and understanding we can move closer to that normalcy we all crave with much greater ease.

As always, please continue to take care of your physical and mental well-being by eating well, exercising, connecting with others safely, getting a good night’s sleep, and continuing to engage in activities that bring you joy.  Remember, until our doors open again,  we are always available by phone or email. So please reach out if you need support.

“In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND”

Fuel Assistance Reminder—The deadline for the 2020-2021 season is May 28

The heating season remains from November 1 through April 30.  Fuel assistance is for low-income tenants and homeowners. Eligibility is based on the household’s gross annual income. If heat is included in your rent, you can also receive fuel assistance. The amount of fuel assistance received depends on income, housing status, and heating costs.

If you are over the income guidelines for Fuel Assistance, you may qualify for another resource called the Good Neighbor Energy Fund provided through the Salvation Army. This fund is specifically for those having income between 60%-80% of the State Median Income Level. The purpose of the fund is to assist households within Massachusetts faced with the financial crisis who are unable to meet their energy needs. You must supply a copy of your fuel bill or delivery ticket from within the past 30 days.

The chart below is a guideline for income qualifications for the two different funds. If you have questions about either resource, please contact Danika Castle at the COA at 781-275-6825.

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